Cutline: Award-winning teacher and educator trainer Dave Burgess spoke to more than 1,300 Orange County teachers Tuesday at the Lutcher Theater.


By Dave Rogers

For The Record

                                                                   Teachers got their “Pirate” on Tuesday morning, and not just those from Vidor.

An ensemble of band students from LCM, WOS, OF, and Vidor high schools opened the convocation with the National Anthem.

Approximately 1,300 educators from West Orange-Cove, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield and Vidor kicked off the school year at the Orange CountyTeachers Convocation at Lutcher Theater.

Dave Burgess, a New York Times best-selling author of “Teach Like A Pirate” and other books for educators, was the primary presenter.

The highly sought speaker from San Diego specializes in transforming education through a highly energetic and creative style.

An award-winning teacher for over 17 years, he was named Secondary School Teacher of the Year in 2014.

Monday, Aug. 28, is the first day of school in those districts. Bridge City, which earned District of Innovation distinction last year, began its classes Aug. 16 and did not participate Tuesday.

“Each school district does its own convocation, but all the schools in the county have teamed up for this one for the last three years,” explained Stephen Patterson, superintendent for the Orangefield schools.

Dave Burgess uses magic to emphasize his message of engaging students in what is being taught. Jordyn Davis, Little Cypress Elementary teacher, assists.

“It’s an appropriate use of the districts’ resources, because we split the cost and are able to bring in a speaker. It also allows our educators to collaborate and learn from each other.”

PIRATE is an acronym for Burgess’ teaching philosophy: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask & analyze, Transformation and Enthusiasm.

“It was super energetic,” Vidor teacher Joann Singleton said. “He had some interesting things to say.”

“I like the fact he was an actual teacher,” said Vidor’s Roni Brown.

He talked for nearly three hours.

“Professional development is a full cardio experience,” he said afterward. His August schedule, he said, has him talking to teachers in a different city Monday through Friday.

“Basically, Teach Like A Pirate has nothing to do with the dictionary definition of a pirate and everything to do with spirit,” Burgess said.

“Reject the status quo. Sail into the wind. Add things that’ll hook students in. PIRATE is an acronym but basically it’s about getting teachers to embrace a more passionate approach to teaching.”